I have found a new love. I live in the great state of Minnesota which has an overwhelming number of parks and nature reserves. Earlier this summer, I made the decision to try trail running instead of my normal triathlons. I looked into if there were any races and it turns out there are quite a few! I looked into the Urban Trail Series which offers four races throughout the Summer/Fall. Below I have listed several things that I have LOVED so far about the races.
The series. I have already completed three of the four races in the series. The Thanksgiving morning run will be my last for the season. I chose to have all of my races be 10K. I love that they are spread out into the Fall and Spring. Having previously done triathlons, they were held in the heat of Summer due to making sure that the water was warm for the swim. The November one should be in the snow, which will be another new experience for me! Running alongside the trees, somehow makes it seem easier to breathe. Like there’s some sort of “extra oxygen” coming from the trees surrounding me. I know it’s silly, but it feels refreshing.
The hilly terrain. I get to use different muscles than I am used to running with. Being from Minnesota, the terrain is normally flat. Because the races are on hilly terrain, the distance should seem much farther, but somehow it doesn’t. I am sore in places that I have never been sore before. Having to run up hills like a stair-climber, but getting to sprint down them right after. I had one race that had an uphill climb close to a half-mile, but still got to run for a few minutes downhill, so it all felt worth it.
The sounds of nature. I am one of those people who can’t run unless they are listening to music. At least, I thought I was. About half way through the race, I took off my headphones just to hear someone that was talking to me. I loved hearing the sound of my footsteps in the Autumn leaves. I loved hearing the sound of the wildlife running/flying along beside us. I didn’t have to listen to the sounds of cars like I do when I run my block at home. It was all quite refreshing.
Getting dirty. There’s something about running through the mud and puddles and getting dirty knowing that you get to just rinse it all off when you get home. The first puddle is always the hardest. After you get your shoes soaked in mud, the rest of the run is nothing!
Softer than concrete. I have run long races in the past along concrete streets. The race does a toll on my hips and knees. Even though my muscles, heart, and lungs can keep going longer, my joints start to hurt after about Mile 6. When running on the trails and soft dirt, I feel like I could run forever!
I hope that you get a chance to run trails some day if you haven’t already. Maybe you will have similar experiences to mine! I would love to hear how you trail run.